As Neowin reported on Saturday, Sprint will begin their pro-rated ETF (Early Termination Fee) plan on starting on November 2. In a Neowin exclusive, we have obtained a copy of an internal Sprint memo, published on October 23, which outlines the details of the ETF reduction plan.
The new Sprint pro-rated ETF will only be available to new contracts signed up after November 2. Originally we'd reported that the ETF fee will drop every month after the second month of service is complete. We now must revise that assessment and say that the ETF fee will drop $10 per month, after the first 5 months of service. The last 5 months the ETF fill will stay at $50 until the last month of the contract in which the ETF will be waived.
The document also instructs Sprint operators to round down the time left on the contract to the next lowest number of months. So if a customer has 7 months and 12 days left on their contract, they will be rounded down to 7 months (with a $70 ETF).
Again, this fee reduction program only applies to new contracts that were started on or after November 2, 2008. If you attempt to cancel a contract started before this date, you will be charged the full $200 fee.
At the end of 2007, Verizon announced that they would begin reducing ETF fees for customers as they got closer to the end of their contracts, followed quickly by AT&T and T-Mobile. Sprint has been the last of the "big four" cellular telecommunications companies to roll out pro-rated ETF.
There is currently a class action lawsuit bring brought against Sprint by former customers who were charged an ETF which was more than the "aggregate recurring charges would have been had the customer maintained service to the end of the contract term fee" between between May 1, 2000 and January 1, 2007. If you are one of the former customers covered under this suit and want to ask to be excluded in this class action (if you wanted to sue them yourself) you must act before November 1, 2008.